The late Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin is being honored today at a private “Celebration of Life” memorial service at the Greater Grace Temple in Detroit, where more than 100 pink Cadillacs have rallied for the occasion. The official program is scheduled until 3 p.m. local time, though the extensive lineup of featured speakers and performers means it may run longer. Musical tributes are set to include Stevie Wonder, Faith Hill, Chaka Khan, Ron Isley, Fantasia, Jennifer Hudson, and Ariana Grande, among others. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Bill Clinton, Tyler Perry, Clive Davis, Smokey Robinson, Detroit mayor Mike Duggan, and more figures from Franklin’s professional and personal life are scheduled to give remarks.
Franklin died August 16 at age 76 following a battle with cancer. At an open-casket viewing at Detroit’s Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History earlier this week, fans and mourners saw Franklin at rest in a red dress and stiletto heels. Numerous celebrities have paid tribute to the iconic singer in recent weeks, including Grande’s performance of “Natural Woman” on the Tonight Show and Madonna’s strange speech at this year’s VMAs.
Watch the memorial proceedings unfold below, then revisit some of Franklin’s most memorable musical moments, an appreciation of her brilliant single “Day Dreaming,” some words from notable fan Barack Obama, and critic Danyel Smith’s 1994 essay for Spin on the restorative powers of the Queen of Soul.